Have Leicester City blown it? Over the weekend the Foxes slipped out of the top six for the first time since September. Right now, it’s difficult to see where the next three points are coming from.
City are on their worst run since 2007. Back then Ian Holloway had just taken charge, his first match (a 2-0 win at Ashton Gate) was followed by seven league games without victory. Nigel Pearson’s Leicester are without a win in six and have taken just half a dozen points from the last 30 available. Even the calamitous start to the 2010/11 campaign yielded more points (eight from 30).
Oakwell used to be one of those grounds where Leicester, even at their worst, could expect to get something. Ian Hume firing home from a tight angle in 2008 led Holloway to declare he was happier than a badger during mating season. Two games later, City were relegated to League One.
These days a win is not such a given and Barnsley have been making remarkable progress under new manager David Flickroft. The Tykes have won seven games at home this season, five of them have come in their last six outings at Oakwell. In the last few weeks Watford and Brighton have come unstuck – and with the home side fighting for Championship survival the Foxes can expect an extremely tough afternoon.
No time then to be without club captain and player of the season in all but name, Wes Morgan. The Foxes will be without him for the first time in a league match since his debut at Derby last season. Before his third minute dismissal against Millwall, Morgan had played every minute of City’s Championship campaign, missing only the 4-2 Carling Cup defeat to Burton Albion.
Thankfully no side has scored fewer goals at home than the 21 Barnsley have managed at Oakwell this season. Yet despite this the Tykes are the only Championship side yet to be involved in a goalless draw this season. That might prove a crumb of comfort to a Leicester side that has scored just three times in its last six matches.
Perhaps Nigel Pearson will be hoping for some help from the officials. Leicester have been award just three penalties this season. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, have received 14 spot-kicks. Then again Chris Wood missed City’s last effort from 12 yards.
But realistically City to starting helping themselves. Four wins would give the Foxes a fighting chance, but right now there can be few betting on it.